Today I was watching our Banggai Cardinalfish which are a fabulous reef safe fish. I suddenly realized – everyone with a reef aquarium should have 3-5 of these fish. If you want an elegant reef safe schooling fish that looks super cool, this is the fish for you. You may have heard this fish called by a few other names. They are often referred to as a Banner Cardinal, Kaudems Cardinal or a Longfin Cardinal Fish. Banggai Cardinals are typically around 2 inches at max size. The coloration of the Banggai Cardinalfish is quite impressive. The silver tan body is punctuated with black stripes, containing white polka dots like markings. My group of Banggai Cardinalfish are extremely docile, making this one of my favorite schooling fish.
Banggai Cardinalfish are limited to the Banggai Islands of Indonesia. With such a small geographic habitat, it is critical that aquacultured specimens be your first consideration. Without a concerted effort by the aquarium industry to demand sustainable options, over-harvesting & ultimate extinction is a real threat. Fortunately, these beauties breed easily in captivity, and multiple aquafarm facilities have started breed programs for Banggai Cardinals for the aquarium trade in large, consistent quantities.
One of the most amazing sites to see is a group of young Banggai Cardinals hiding within the spines of long spine urchins. These fish are commonly found in shallow pool of 500+ animals grouped together hiding from predators among the long spikes of the urchins.
At a recent trip to one of our wholesalers, I noticed several very small Banggai Cardinals which had recently been born swimming among the selection of leather toadstools. They were as small as a standard pencil eraser on the end of a yellow #2 pencil. Grabbing my Nikon fitted with a 105 Macro Lens & Underwater housing, I quickly began shooting their pictures but to no avail. I will attempt another photo shoot shoot so you can experience this wonderful birthing event.